Big cities are high energy and fast-paced. Sometimes nothing can beat the excitement of adventuring a new one. I’ve been fortunate to visit some of the biggest in the world, and there are many I’d still love to experience. Paris and Rome are two on my wish list!
Then comes the drain
However, the downside of cities is that it can be extremely depleting to live in one full-time. The subway system in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world, and fun to ride as a tourist. But, I observed the residents carefully in the time I visited. People constantly sandwiched into crowded places, faces planted in their cell phones. There was little connecting with other people, smiling or even making eye contact. Everyone just seemed to be enduring their own personal grind, surrounded by soulless cement.
Be in tune with body messages
It is very important to be cognizant of the drain on our energy in cities. Sometimes it can be difficult or even impossible for city dwellers to escape to green space for a reprieve from the pollution, noise, and crowds. I realized about a year ago that the traffic noise near my house was constantly making me feel on edge. It was a low grade, incessant drain that at first was easy to block out. But there came a time when I realized it was slowly sucking the life energy out of me.
Find your piece of green, today
So as much as I hate moving (who doesn’t?), I bit the bullet and did it for my physical and mental health. My partner and I are now installed in a new neighborhood, which is a short 5-minute walk to green space with a large park and river. I head there frequently for my “nature medicine”, and I’m feeling in better balance these days. And never underestimate the power of even a little patch of nature to energize. If outdoor green just isn’t easily attainable, how about a mini-garden on your windowsill?
Such simple medicine, but so potent. There’s a great Time article about embracing nature as a mood booster. What Green Spaces Can Do to Your Mood is well worth the short read.
Breathe © Susan L Hart